As employees move up the corporate ladder, the amount of ambiguity and uncertainty in their environment increases ten-fold. Managers and leaders need to be both effective and proactive in dealing with constant change, to ensure their own success and that of their team.
From managing a multigenerational and multicultural workforce to dealing with employees around the world, leaders are required to be both agile and flexible in their approach to different situations. This means adapting one’s behaviour to suit different situations, constantly learning new skills and being open to learning/growing through other people. All of these elements, and more, form part of Learning Agility.
What is Learning Agility?
Simply put, it is the ability to develop new, effective behaviour, based on new experiences. It is a measure of whether an applicant or an existing employee has the potential to develop new, successful behaviours, and the speed at which they are likely to do so. Some people are naturally more learning agile – embracing ambiguity, uncertainty and mental challenges. Others are more reluctant to venture into the unknown, preferring to stick to what they are familiar with.
Leaders with high Learning Agility will develop better tools and behaviours to deal with new challenges, in a shorter amount of time. They will also set this example for their team and help to instill these values in the organisation as a whole. Thus, measuring the Learning Agility of managers becomes a crucial aspect of leadership performance.
What does Learning Agility consist of?
There are five dimensions to Learning Agility. Most people do not score high on every dimension, but show a unique combination of learning strengths and development areas. The good news is that learning agility is not set for life – because it is based, in part, on an individual’s attitudes and motivators, it can be developed with the right interventions.
Change Agility: People who score high on Change Agility are characterised by a constant curiosity that is fueled by the new and the unknown. They like to experiment and try new things.
Mental Agility: People with a high score on Mental Agility like it when things are unclear or complex, as they enjoy creating clarity with new ideas.
People Agility: Those who score high on People Agility are constructive toward others and are open to people with different backgrounds and opinions. They have a need to understand other people, and tend to take their opinions seriously.
Results Agility: People with a high score on Results Agility have a strong need to be successful and are always looking for the best way to achieve results. They are often ambitious and confident, with a tendency to remain calm under pressure.
Self-awareness: People who score high on Self-awareness know their own strengths and weaknesses, and are development oriented. They are often critical of their own performance and actions. This makes them keen to do things better, and their overall willingness to learn is higher.
Measuring Learning Agility
HFMtalentindex offers a comprehensive online Learning Agility assessment, used by companies around the world to gain insight into this important construct for their leaders, teams and employees. There are two versions of the assessment: either with or without a 360 performance measurement element, so you can select the option that works best for your organisation.